Boston has always been Robin to NY’s Batman. We usually don’t give this a second thought, but isn’t it strange that one of America’s premiere cities is almost never looked at as such? Within the context of hip-hop, how has there not been a big-name rapper reppin Beantown at this point? Whenever recently fired toilet paper manufacturer Benzino claimed he was the king of Boston, we all laughed. A lot. Side-splitting, rolling-on-the-floor, oh-my-God-I-can’t-breathe hysteria. But after gathering ourselves, the next obvious question was, “Wait, then who is the best rapper from Boston?” Guru? Edo G? No disrespect, but that’s no Biggie, Jay-Z, and Nas. In the past decade we’ve seen the emergence of L.A., the Bay, St. Louis, Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Still, no Boston.
But like most cities, NYC’s little brother has an underground hip-hop scene packed with emcees trying to make their mark, even in the absence of a mainstream success story. Enter Dagha and “Object In Motion”. With influence from fellow a Bostonian, the multi-talented Insight (who produces and rhymes on several cuts), “Object in Motion” draws similarities to the slept-on “The Blast Radius” of 2004. And like that album, Dagha’s American debut is an acquired taste. The first tracks immediately scream “sci-fi rap” with abstract/spacey beats and big-kid phrases like “conscious fetus going full term” and “photosynthesize to camouflage”. As the album continues, the production evolves to standard boom-bap, a welcome backdrop because dude never dumbs it down. I may be an idiot, but it’s a little easier to get my head around his complex rhymes when I can at least nod along. I guarantee it’ll take the average hip-hop head a few spins to fully appreciate Dagha, but once you do, it’s sure to jar you.
For instance, check the verbal gymnastics in “Heaven Or Hell”: “While black smoke’s rising, I’m heating up the stratus / Release my fluent coolant activated apparatus / See flesh piled in batches / Catch turbulence in patches”. For some of you, this dictionary jargon may just be blah-blah-blah and if that’s the case, there’s nothing I can write here that’ll change your mind. I repeat, it’s an acquired taste. It’s like football. Casual fans like football for the hitting and the touchdown dances. Aficionados appreciate the brilliance of the Cover 2 defense or the complexity of the zone blitz. “Object in Motion” is a zone blitz executed to perfection.
Gems include the Meistro-produced “Conquerors” and Insight-produced “Skool House Rock”, sure to bump systems and open minds. Even on iffy beats, Dagha doesn’t ever settle for half-baked rhymes, constantly trying to elevate the lyrical game. And what’s his motive? “Make the population use all three eyes / Clear the hemisphere from implanted fear and pollution / Make your dome your home and institution / Conclusion: never settle for confusion / An object in motion is an object in steady movement”.
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